Locals on the oche to remember Harold

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FOR more than 30 years he had prowled his one and only oche.

Late Ashton darter Harold Ogden was proud to be a mainstay of the once all-conquering Blue Bell pub arrows team.

Now he is all set to be remembered at a charity knock-out on Friday.

And it has been organised by his former son-in-law who remains eternally grateful that four years ago Harold introduced him too to darts at the Rectory Road pub.

And he has gone on to become one of the Ashton League team’s keenest exponents.

The 501 based competition will be held on Stubshaw Cross Labour Club’s multiple darts boards, rather than the Blue Bell, because of its greater capacity.

It will also take the form of a fund-raiser for Macmillan Nurses who cared for the late Harold, of Downall Green, during the 64-year-old’s brave battle last year with cancer.

Darters will be asked to buy tickets for a prize fund-raising raffle and a football card. Players need to report to the club for 6.30pm for a 7.30pm draw.

There is no need to book in advance.

Organiser Chris Bradshaw, who took up darts because of his father-in-law’s encouragement, said that the family agree that a darts competition for a good cause is the most fitting way to remember self-employed plasterer Harold who died two months ago.

The 33-year-old from Rectory Road said: “I’m not sure on how many legs contestants will play yet because I am not sure how many people are going to turn up but my father-in-law made a lot of mates through the darts so I am hopeful lots will attend to remember him.

“He loved the Blue Bell and as far as I know never played for any other team during all these years.

“I play darts myself thanks to my father-in-law introducing me to the game and I also organise tournaments, which I have done three of now. I did the Ashton-in-Makerfield Open that a lot of Lancashire players turned up for with prize money of £500. So I talked to the family and we are all agreed that this is the perfect way to remember Harold and to support Macmillan who supported the family during his illness.

“Harold played for a such long time and when I asked my mother-in-law Kath she said straight away that I should do it to help keep his memory going,

“He was always there and very rarely missed a game.

“I fancied a change, I couldn’t play football any more and it was Harold who suggested I try the darts and I bought a darts board to practise on in the garage for three months or so.

“One day Harold said ‘come down and play for the Blue Bell’ and after that I have never really looked back.”